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January 12, 2012 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Crow + Roof + Tubing = Awesome. [SLYT]
posted by Fizz (64 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome is totally correct, dude.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:17 AM on January 12, 2012


That was.. yes, awesome.

Whenever someone says only humans have emotions or the ability to understand 'fun', I will point them to this video.
posted by Malice at 11:22 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Geez, next thing you know they'll be learning how to use weapons and such.

I for one welcome our new corvid overlords...
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Crowboarding. As someone already observed at YouTube, dammit.
posted by Decani at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The birth of a fantastic new idiom: As the crow flies snow tubes.

Yeah town center's not that far as the crow snow tubes, but you'll probably want to take the stairs.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:27 AM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


'Tis a raven.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:27 AM on January 12, 2012


Crowboarding. As someone already observed at YouTube, dammit.

yes. and someone also laid claim to snowbirding there as well. :-(
posted by jadayne at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2012


Quoth the Raven, "Gnarly dude."
posted by DaddyNewt at 11:29 AM on January 12, 2012 [25 favorites]


I ♥ crows.
posted by brundlefly at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quoth the raven, 'Radical!'
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:31 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


damn you DaddyNewt
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:32 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Squirrel + Waterski = Gnarly.
posted by Fizz at 11:33 AM on January 12, 2012


Next time I watch Escape From LA I'm going to cut out the tsunami surfing scene and replace it with this.
posted by brundlefly at 11:34 AM on January 12, 2012


I'm afraid this sort of thing is a slippery slope.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:34 AM on January 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


A Yaqui way of snowboarding.
posted by maxwelton at 11:37 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Squirrel + Waterski = Gnarly.

The difference is that the squirrel would have had to be trained to waterski by some incredibly sad individual, whereas this crow probably saw some kids tobogganing, wondered what the fuss was about, and tried it himself.

That's why this is awesome and that is lame.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:40 AM on January 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone, but it looks to me more like the crow is just gnawing away at that tube and then inadvertently slides down. He keeps going back to the apse of the roof because that's where they like to perch.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:41 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought it said Cow + Roof + Tubing - and I was kind of disappointed when I clicked the link.
posted by get off of my cloud at 11:42 AM on January 12, 2012


I thought it said Cow + Roof + Tubing - and I was kind of disappointed when I clicked the link.

Ask and ye shall receive.
posted by Fizz at 11:43 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is if you change roof to beach and tubing to surfing.
posted by Fizz at 11:44 AM on January 12, 2012


Er, apse = apex.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 AM on January 12, 2012


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone, but it looks to me more like the crow is just gnawing away at that tube and then inadvertently slides down. He keeps going back to the apse of the roof because that's where they like to perch.

I was looking for a non-anthropomorphic explanation, too, but I don't know. The way he kind of waits at the top after each peck at the tube, as if anticipating the slide is just like a kid trying to start a sledding run by scootching along the slope. He even switches from the less-snowy slope when he realizes it is not working. Then when his run is done he gets right back to the top for another go round. I really do think he is just having fun.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:47 AM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone, but it looks to me more like the crow is just gnawing away at that tube and then inadvertently slides down. He keeps going back to the apse of the roof because that's where they like to perch.

I don't know. You see this and it makes you think that maybe this crows know EXACTLY what it's doing.
posted by Fizz at 11:48 AM on January 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah, when he stops halfway down and starts poking at it, "go, man! go! shit! go!" is exactly what I was thinking and exactly what I would do. Except that I don't have wings. And I don't shit on your car.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:48 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's just trying to eat it on a slippery surface.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:12 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


He can fly. If he didn't want to slide down with the tube he wouldn't.
posted by cmoj at 12:17 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the term anthropomorphize isn't really accurate. If animals really are feeling the same emotions as human do, then there is nothing intrinsically "human" about emotions. Instead animals and humans are both experiencing a set of emotions common to all conscious living things. In fact, animals were experiencing these emotions long before humans appeared so you could say they have stronger claim to them than we do
posted by euphorb at 12:20 PM on January 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is great, but I was incredibly disappointed because (seriously) I had misread "Crow" as "Cow".
posted by The Bellman at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


*Raises eyebrow* Isn't that a plastic tube? Like a Pringles top or some such?
Now, why would a crow or raven, both of which are very smart birds, try to eat plastic?

The bird is playing, folks.
posted by DisreputableDog at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2012


That crows play is pretty well documented--here is another snowy roof situation.
posted by everichon at 12:25 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Polish crows are the smartest crows!
posted by Meatbomb at 12:38 PM on January 12, 2012


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone

LALALALALALALALA, I can't HEAR YOU Burhanistan over the sound of how awesome this is!
posted by briank at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone, but it looks to me more like the crow is just gnawing away at that tube and then inadvertently slides down. He keeps going back to the apse of the roof because that's where they like to perch.


"Dude, like, fresh powder! FWISHOWWWW!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:03 PM on January 12, 2012


A couple of years ago I was in my bathroom one morning trying to get the toilet to stop running, and I was distracted by a flickering of the light.

It happened several more times and I realized something was interrupting the light from the window that faces my neighbor's house which is about 10 ft. away.

I was alarmed because the wind was blowing hard enough to rattle the window in its casement, and I was afraid it had blown something off the roof which was flapping in front of the window, but when I got up to look through the unfrosted upper half of the window, there were more than twenty crows on the neighbor's roof line, and at least as many on mine whose shadows I could see on the slope of the neighbor's roof.

The light flickered because crows were flying right by the window, over and over again.

They were taking turns flying down the alley between the houses in the direction the wind was blowing and it must have been really turbulent there, because it was just blowing them all over the place.

No one hit a wall, though, and it was the most acrobatic flying I have ever seen. I had no idea that crows could fly that well. It brought tears to my eyes.

After half an hour the wind settled down and they all flew off.
posted by jamjam at 1:03 PM on January 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


This is the best thing that ever happened!
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I don't shit on your car.

You mean, "eat dark, staining berries and shit on your car." I generally assume that they're doing it on purpose. They sit on the power line adjacent to our parking lot at work in the morning as folks arrive, leaning forward anxiously. But I never see them take a flying crap on a car while someone is out there. Which is interesting.

So, last summer I was out in the yard and a juvenile crow was sitting preening awkwardly in the middle branches of one of the pine trees in our yard. It perched there staring at me about 30 feet away, began twitching its wings anxiously, then started making the strangest little strangle-y, choke-y, baby cry-like noises, all while still looking straight at me. Of course I asked it what was up a couple times, and it kept up the strange noises for a couple minutes, then finally got twitchier and flew away to follow what I presumed were its parental pair of crows. I couldn't help but half-seriously wonder to myself if the up and coming generation of crows was actually trying to teach themselves to speak human language, and I was the target of an early attempt.
posted by aught at 1:15 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Surfin' bird.
posted by No more Mr. Smartypants at 1:20 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It was asking you for food, aught, that's how I've seen them beg their parents to feed them.
posted by jamjam at 1:26 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


the strangest little strangle-y, choke-y, baby cry-like noises

Yeah. There is a family that has nested in our trees for several generations. The fledglings, once they learn to fly but are still with mom and dad (for up to a year typically) make lots of these croaky gargly crying sounds. The parents generally ignore them, but are never out of sight.

The dive-bombing in June can be pretty annoying but they are fascinating creatures.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


...strangle-y, choke-y, baby cry-like noises, all while still looking straight at me.

[translation] TIMMY'S FALLEN IN THE WELL!
posted by exphysicist345 at 1:38 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I couldn't help but half-seriously wonder to myself if the up and coming generation of crows was actually trying to teach themselves to speak human language, and I was the target of an early attempt.

Don't be ridiculous. Their beaks can't make the same range of sounds our lips can. The baby crow was trying to teach you to speak Crow.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Polish crows are the smartest crows!

Yeah, a Polish crow would have remembered to wear a helmet. It's a hooded crow somewhere in Russia or Ukraine or Belarus.
posted by hat_eater at 1:48 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I used to work in a 30-storey building, located on a main road running through of a strange little bit of remnant weatherboard housing suburbia jammed between the city and the old commercial/retail ring surrounding it. Around here, late winter & early spring means strong westerly winds. Perfectly placed to funnel these down the little suburban side street, the building created a huge wind tunnel which meant that sometimes it was almost impossible to walk up the street against the wind. But the sparrows loved it.

Starting at the bottom of the street, 150m from the building, they'd fly straight up the middle of the tarmac. As they got closer to the building and the wind got stronger, they'd fly closer and closer to the ground - until, about half-way along the building, they'd be an inch or two off the road, flapping their wings like hell, but making almost no headway.

Then, at the last minute, they'd tip a wingtip up into the wind and be barrelled almost out of control back down to the bottom of the street - where they'd start the whole thing again.

In reality, they were probably hunting for insects that'd been sucked into the vortex. But, sitting there enjoying the mild spring sunshine, you'd have a hard time convincing me that birds didn't sometimes do things just for the pure thrill and pleasure of it…
posted by Pinback at 2:37 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


This makes me realize how much money I could save on lift-tickets if I had wings.

Anywaze, for those questioning whether it's possible for animals to invent gravity sports, the answer is: Yes, they can.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:08 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone...

I once watch a number of crows (it was impossible to tell how many) once do about 15 harassment passes at a coopers hawk at somewhere between 500 - 1000 feet up. Over time the attacks came less and less frequently and I started looking for the individual crows (from my worm's eye view). The attacks were getting less frequent because one by one the crows were breaking off, each flying away in a different direction.

If computer games have taught me anything, they have taught me that the average group of 6 - 10 humans aren't smart enough, even with Team Speak or Ventrilo, to organize this sort of thing in real time. They'll fail to wait their turn and mess up one another's attack pass, lead the hawk straight back to the nest or otherwise screw up any plan that is much more complex that "Get em!"

Anthropomorphizing indeed.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:09 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the smart crows and love to anthropomorphize as much as anyone...

Is there a reverse of that? Because i see way, way too many people dismissing animal intelligence by just saying it's anthropomorphization. (i know i probably spelled it wrong, oh well) Yeah, they are different, but ignoring the smarts is pathetic and assuming we are some special snowflake of a species for some stupid reason. It's the whole "goldfish only remember seconds" bullshit that has been disproven but people believe.

Watch the Nature episode Murder of Crows and people who have actually studied them, and see how smart they actually are.
posted by usagizero at 3:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


This raven (type of crow?) picks on a bald eagle!
posted by JujuB at 4:37 PM on January 12, 2012


I'm with usagizero. Here's a CBC Ideas show called "Wise Guys", about how intelligent corvids are.
posted by sneebler at 5:38 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny until it gets ahold of a lock pick....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 6:31 PM on January 12, 2012


Oh, there's no doubt some birds are smart, and well capable of learning. I know some people who are studying the evolution and movement of tool use between familial groups in an isolated population (I forget exactly whether they're studying the Australian Raven, Corvus coronoides, or the Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen - the latter, I think).

From what I understand of their work, there's documented evidence of one family group learning to prepare and use a particular tool for obtaining food. Individuals of family groups whose range abuts the tool-using group appear to learn by observation how to prepare and use a similar tools, outside of any genetically-inherited behaviour (the groups are adjacent, but there's very little interbreeding, and the I believe genetics of the new tool-using individuals show no recent relationship to the original tool-using family).

But that's a different thing to the question of whether some birds are complex enough to develop and undertake behaviour for the purpose of enjoyment, as opposed to undertaking something that is either learned or learning behaviour that merely looks pleasurable to us. I think some probably are, but I'm not sure how you'd go about determining the reason for the behaviour and testing the hypothesis…
posted by Pinback at 6:46 PM on January 12, 2012


Geez, next thing you know they'll be learning how to use weapons and such.

Too late. The war is on.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crowboarding. As someone already observed at YouTube, dammit.

yes. and someone also laid claim to snowbirding there as well. :-(


But nobody's claimed crowbogganing! (Mine, all mine!)
posted by ilana at 7:02 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


They sometimes commandeer vehicles to save energy
posted by madamjujujive at 7:11 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joshua Klein has a crow story.
posted by hortense at 7:37 PM on January 12, 2012


But that's a different thing to the question of whether some birds are complex enough to develop and undertake behaviour for the purpose of enjoyment, as opposed to undertaking something that is either learned or learning behaviour that merely looks pleasurable to us. I think some probably are, but I'm not sure how you'd go about determining the reason for the behaviour and testing the hypothesis…

That a behavior has an evolutionary reason does not preclude it from being enjoyable. The evolutionary explanation for why people like hamburgers is that they're calorie-dense and high in the vital nutrient salt, but the proximal reason people eat hamburgers is that they taste good. Ultimately, pleasure and enjoyment are rewards shaped by evolution to encourage organisms to do things with evolutionary benefit. For large generalist birds like crows, being skilled at flying is important: for attracting mates, for fending off raptors, for getting food. But I doubt that crows play in the wind with the intention of practicing flying (probably only humans force themselves to do things just to get better at them); they do it because it's immediately rewarding, or in other words, fun.
posted by Pyry at 8:05 PM on January 12, 2012


OK, serious question: there are many crows that hang out near my workplace. Should I cultivate their friendship? (Hey, guys! Peanuts!) Or should I try to remain invisible?

Totally not thinking of Willard. Although, the power to summon a corvid army is... tempting.

Hey, you know why crows are so awesome? It's because of their esprit de caw.
posted by SPrintF at 9:06 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


...then started making the strangest little strangle-y, choke-y, baby cry-like noises, all while still looking straight at me...
posted by aught at 4:15 PM on January 12 [3 favorites +] [!]

It was asking you for food, aught, that's how I've seen them beg their parents to feed them.
posted by jamjam at 4:26 PM on January 12 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Interesting! Thanks folks. (My little bit of AskMe here in the blue.)
posted by aught at 5:44 AM on January 13, 2012


"Science writer David Quammen believes -- not entirely tongue-in-cheek -- that crows are simply too smart for their own good.
Crows are bored. They suffer from being too intelligent for their station in life. Respectable evolutionary success is simply not, for these brainy and complex birds, enough. They are dissatisfied with the narrow goals and horizons of that tired old Darwinian struggle. On the lookout for a new challenge. See them there, lined up conspiratorially along a fence rail or a high wire, shoulder to shoulder, alert, self-contained, missing nothing. Feeling discreetly thwarted. Waiting, like an ambitious understudy, for their break. Dolphins and whales and chimpanzees get all the fawning publicity, great fuss made over their near-human intelligence. But don't be fooled. Crows are not stupid. Far from it. They are merely underachievers. They are bored.
He supports his case by pointing out that crows are playful and often frivolous. The play catch, they juggle, they play a kind of rugby with small stones,
And they have a comedy-acrobatic routine: allowing themselves to tip backward dizzily from a wire perch, holding a loose grip so as to hang upside down, spreading out both wings, then daringly letting go with one foot; finally switching feet to let go with the other. Such shameless hot-dogging is usually performed for a small audience of other crows.
David Quammen, "Has Success Spoiled The Crow? The Puzzling Case File on the World's Smartest Bird", from his book Natural Acts : A Sidelong View of Science and Nature (New York : Schocken Books, 1985).

-- From Scienticity.net
posted by ecorrocio at 8:42 AM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crows are bored. They suffer from being too intelligent for their station in life...Such shameless hot-dogging is usually performed for a small audience of other crows

So crows are essentially the disaffected teenagers of the animal kingdom (minus the skateboards)?
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 1:37 PM on January 13, 2012


I think the term anthropomorphize isn't really accurate. If animals really are feeling the same emotions as human do, then there is nothing intrinsically "human" about emotions. Instead animals and humans are both experiencing a set of emotions common to all conscious living things.

Absolutley. With the caveat "common to all conscious living things with a comon-ancestor limbic system." Crows and humans share a common permian ancestor, and that ancestor is thought to have had brain structures that were the foundation of our emotional wiring. It's unlikey that cuttlefish have emotions as we understand them, but perfectly reasonable that corvids and canines and cows do.
posted by clarknova at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Poet John Dolan writes about the moral and emotional superiorty of crows.
posted by clarknova at 2:23 PM on January 13, 2012


I had the delight a few years back of witnessing a group of a few dozen crows sledding down an icy hill on their bellies. Each crow, as it got to the street at the bottom of the hill, would fly back up to the top, hurl itself with great speed at the ground, and tumble and slide to the bottom with a great deal of wing flapping and squawking. Over and over again, for the half hour I stole from from my day to sit and watch. There was no food around, nothing for them to be chasing but each other, and they were still at it when I left. Clearly, they were just having a good time. Me, too.

and --

"I'm with usagizero. Here's a CBC Ideas show called "Wise Guys", about how intelligent corvids are.
posted by sneebler at 5:38 PM on January 12 [1 favorite +] [!]"


Why thank you for noticing, my friend. Indeed.
posted by Corvid at 6:20 PM on January 13, 2012


I missed this thread on first post, just caught it with the deleted double. In case jamjam is still reading:

jamjam: They were taking turns flying down the alley

While I'm sure the flying was super-impressive, I wonder if you might have missed an even more interesting behavior.....in your own words, they were taking turns.

No matter how acrobatic their flying was, I think that's probably way down the achievement scale from realizing that they can't all do it at once, and then organizing themselves well enough to know whose turn it is to play, and to enjoy watching other crows play.

You were impressed by the aerobatics, but without that visual spectacle to distract me, I think I'm much more impressed with the queues.
posted by Malor at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great point about the queuing, Malor. The sledding crows were also taking turns, in a fashion at least as organized as a group of grade-schoolers. In fact, as I first glanced at the hill, I wondered why all those kids were wearing black -- I though they must be from some sort of religious school, all lining up in their little uniforms.
posted by Corvid at 1:55 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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